So you’ve been spritzing and moisturizing your face and hands all winter—even your hair is getting some extra attention to prevent the frizzies and dryness. But what about your feet? Winter can be super rough on heels, leading to cracking, dryness, and even bleeding. Ouch!
For severe conditions, be sure to check in with your doctor. But for mild cracking and itching, give some of these DIY home remedies for treating cracked heels.
- Sleep with oily feet: You don’t need anything more than a good olive oil or coconut oil to make this work for you. You’ll also need a pair of socks you don’t love very much, though. Before bed, generously apply oil to your feet and heels—really cover them in oil. Put on socks—two pairs if needed to keep the oil in. And go to sleep. This should help to bring some relief and you can do this rather frequently if needed. Just be sure to be careful getting up as your feet will be slippery even in the socks.
- Soak your feet: One cup of white vinegar in a warm bath can help to relieve discomfort from dry and cracked feet. Another option is to combine three tablespoons of baking soda with three tablespoons of salt in a small tub filled with warm water. If you don’t have a small foot tub, just fill your bathtub high enough to soak your feet. Be sure to dissolve the baking soda and salt thoroughly. You can also make this mixture into a paste for the feet—just decrease the salt by one tablespoon and add in a bit of olive oil to form a past. Gently scrub the feet. Avoid using the scrub if you have severe cracking and bleeding.
- Make a foot mask: Masks aren’t just a beauty must for face and hair—they can do wonders for feet, too. This one is super easy: mash up a ripe banana until it’s free from lumps. Generously spread over heels and feet where it’s needed and wrap foot in plastic wrap (you may want to have this part ready before you cover your feet in nanas. Leave the feet wrapped for about ten minutes before rinsing. Gently rub with pumice stone after drying.
It’s that time of year again. Time to take a look back and a look forward by setting those New Year’s resolutions.
“But they never stick,” you’re saying. You’ve failed to meet your goals one too many times, right? We all have. Here’s a secret: Don’t make them so hard.
That’s right, we tend to want to be our best selves—it’s a noble goal, of course!—but making too many changes all at once is hard for anyone. It’s no wonder we fail. So, how about something a little more achievable?
What if, over the next several years, you set out to just focus on one area of your life instead of goals all over the place? By dialing in and drilling down to one particular area of focus, you may find more success with keeping—and exceeding—your New Year’s resolution.
Of course, we think you should focus on your beauty regimen this year. And, if “But I can’t live without X” just popped into your head, don’t get ahead of yourself! Check out what we’re recommending first. It’s easier than you probably thought. Promise.
- Resolve to start reading labels: This doesn’t mean you have to ditch that favorite L’Oreal mascara if you don’t want to, but by becoming more informed about the ingredients in your products, you’ll (hopefully) start to opt for cleaner ingredients when and where you can. You know, no pressure though.
- Commit to sun protection: It’s easy to let the SPF slide, especially in mid-winter, but a good habit started now is more likely to last when you really need it during the blazing sun of summer. And, while you’re at it, go get a full body scan from a dermatologist to put your mind at ease about those moles.
- Pledge to a skincare routine: Just like washing and brushing your teeth is hopefully automated, a good skincare routine can also become an auto pilot part of your day. Every person’s skin requires different types of products, but in general you should: remove makeup, cleanse, tone, apply serum, moisturizer, eye cream. And exfoliate once or twice per week.
- Support small businesses: Again, it doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule for every product, but did you know that your gorgeous skin is living in an incredibly fortunate time? Thanks to the Internet and a growing demand for clean skincare products, thousands of small-scale producers (ahem) are making some of the best quality skincare products on the market. Not only does supporting these brands give you a high quality product that may be the best thing ever for your skin, but it tells the industry that it’s time to make changes—nasty ingredients out, clean stuff all the way in, please.
- Experiment with swaps: Okay so you’re reading labels, you’re supporting small businesses and you’ve got your skincare routine down! Now, make a pledge to make as many product swaps as you can. Still using a synthetic deodorant? Maybe start there. Or how about that beauty salon hair conditioner? We bet there’s a cleaner one that’s just as good. Make as many (or as few) swaps as you like. Happy New Year!
We know how overwhelming those beauty care aisles can be—trust us! It’s how we make a living, after all. And it’s great to know there are so many fantastic truly natural options out there for every type of skin and every type of skin problem. But there’s one very special beauty ingredient you won’t find in the beauty aisle. You’ll have to head on over to the “condiments” section for this one—but it’s worth the trek. You need apple cider vinegar, like stat.
Apple cider vinegar—ACV to its die-hard fans—is, well, an anomaly. One of the world’s oldest and most beloved fermented liquids (ahem, after wine, of course), ACV is the Grandmother of home remedies—really, just ask your actual grandmother about it.
Yes, it adds a piquant bite to salad dressings, soups, and more, but in truth, ACV is the powerful medicinal herbal remedy with a culinary side effect. It should be in the pharmacy and beauty sections of the supermarket first, rather than sitting next to olive oil.
But regardless of where we catalog this force of nature, it’s a natural beauty lover’s must-have.
7 Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Acne relief: Antiseptic by nature, a little dab of ACV can speed the healing of mild acne breakouts. To prevent acne, use ACV like a toner, sweeping a diluted mix of vinegar and water across the face on a cotton ball.
2. Tone skin: ACV is a rich astringent that can increase the blood flow to skin and regulate pH, making it an excellent toner after washing and before moisturizing. Be sure to dilute 1:1 with water.
3. Toxin removal: Using apple cider vinegar on the face helps to pull toxins out of the skin, for consistently healthier and cleaner looking skin. It also reduces the appearance of age spots, if used regularly.
4. Brighten teeth: Coffee, tea, and wine lovers, take note: Rinsing your not-so-pearly whites with ACV a few times a day can actually help to lift stains off the teeth, leading to a brighter smile without the chemical whiteners. And bonus: the antifungal and antibacterial properties of vinegar help to keep your gums healthy too.
5. Dandruff relief: An itchy and dry flaky scalp is no fun and can even be an embarrassing problem (especially if you love wearing dark clothes). Bring your scalp relief with a deep scalp treatment of ACV. Work it into the hair before, after, or with your shampoo for relief.
6. Shiny hair: ACV also delivers a healthy, gorgeous shine to hair. Simply rinse with apple cider vinegar after your conditioner. Rinse with water and let air-dry for a healthy, natural shine.
7. Stay healthy: Glow from within by fighting off colds and the flu with apple cider vinegar. Research has shown it to be helpful in boosting immune response and speeding recovery, helping you to feel and look your best!
When it comes to oils with benefits for skin and hair: coconut oil is the clear winner. Its popularity is certainly merit-based; coconut oil is nothing short of miracle for the body—inside and out. But there are plenty of other oils with good-for-you benefits worthy of praise, including the rising star argan oil and its many benefits.
Like many oils, argan oil comes from a tree nut of the argan tree, which is prized by Moroccans as a miracle tree of sorts. The argan trees are exclusive to the region, making them all the more special. So special, in fact, that UNESCO has protected the region, known as the “Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve.”
But don’t worry that using argan oil is depleting or damaging the reserve. Most argan is harvested by women in small cooperatives vital to the Berber community. This sustainable practice promotes reforestation and it’s such a vital industry for the country, supporting about ten percent of Moroccans. That’s some oil!
So what does argan do for you?
1. Moisturizing: Argan oil is a nutrient-rich super oil loaded with vitamins A and E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids all vital for skin and hair, making it a most reliable and excellent moisturizer.
2. Skin toning and healing: Both vitamins A and E are critical to boosting skin health, including speeding healing and recovery, reducing the signs of aging, and reducing breakouts. That’s good for skin that looks and is healthy year-round.
3. Makeup removal: Like any oil, argan is excellent at removing makeup from the skin, including heavy eye makeup. Just be sure to avoid getting it in your eyes unless you don’t mind a little oily, blurry vision for a bit.
4. Healthy and strong hair: Argan oil has a reputation for being one of the best oils for hair—maybe even more so than coconut oil. Credit goes to its moisturizing abilities, where it sinks deep into the hair follicle, literally making it shinier and silkier from the inside out.
5. Bye-bye split ends! Argan’s super healing and moisturizing benefits can make it your BFF in the battle against split ends. While nothing will get rid of them once you have them (except for a trim), using argan oil on your hair regularly can keep them from occurring so quickly.
6. Healthy scalp: If dandruff or dry scalp are recurring issues, you’re going to want to give argan a go. It’s effective in nourishing not only the hair, but the often-neglected scalp that can become dry and irritated by conventional hair care products.
7. De-Frizz: Most any oil applied to the hair will help reduce frizziness, but because argan doesn’t leave hair super greasy, it can be left on like a leave-in conditioner, particularly helpful during frizzy hair season. You can do deep conditioning like overnight hair masks with argan to help reduce frizz and boosting shine.
Check out our favorite argan oil products!
Argan & Yarrow Sunscreen Mineral Moisturizer
African Organic Body Oil Blend
Pomegranate & Eyebright Serum
The brutal sting of winter’s chill may not be here just yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prep your skin for its inevitability. Just like the seasons change, so too must your skin (and hair!) care regimen. Ready to make a few simple swaps?
- Switch up your cleanser: A good skin cleanser that works for your skin type is essential. And giving it up? No thanks. But you may want to add a more seasonally appropriate cleanser to your routine. For winter, you want a creamier, and more moisture-rich cleansing lotion, as opposed to drying skin cleansers like foams.
- Add a richer moisturizer: Just like you want a more nourishing cleanser in the winter months, you want an extra creamy moisture treatment. This means your normal face oil or lotion might take a vacay until spring and you indulge in a thicker and more substantial crème to bring protection and hydration.
- Richer eye crème: Same rule as moisturizers—you want an eye crème that’s really going to protect the delicate skin around the eyes from drying out thanks to the cold-hot-cold air cycles going from chilly outside to sweltering indoors.
- Don’t forget your lips! We tend to equate lip balms with protection against harsh summer sun—but it’s also vital in the winter months too. Cold winter air can quickly dry out your lips as can all those PSLs, and the canned indoor heat. Switch from that tinted summery lip balm to a thick in-the-pot jar of flavorless and petroleum-free lip balm that’s loaded with moisturizing butters and oils.
- Amp up the hair care: While winter may give your hair a break from the pool and sun damage, it exposes it to other not-so-flattering situations like using the hair dryer way more, and that canned indoor air drying out your skin and lips. Switch from a light shampoo and conditioner to those heavier in oils and repairing ingredients to boost shine, decrease frizz, and reduce split ends. Top it off with a nourishing oil treatment, and remember: you don’t need to wash your hair everyday!
Check out our favorite winter beauty care items:
Ginko and Pumpkin Organic Créme
Coconut Milk Safflower Cleanser
Olive Black Seed Conditioner
Olive Black Seed Shampoo
Find it difficult to spend a little bit more on organic beauty products when conventional options boast just as many benefits?
Well, there’s a lot more than selective marketing claims when it comes to the benefits offered in quality skin and hair care products. So if you need a little reminder, here are five.
1. Organic ingredients are cleaner ingredients: Yes, beauty products are supposed to be fancy and even mysterious. But cancer-causing? No thank you. Organic ingredients means a reduced risk of exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides that can be absorbed through the skin, many of which have links to increased cancer risks and other health ailments.
2. Organic farming is better for the planet: If you’re wondering what smog-free air has to do with beauty, the answer is quite a lot, actually. By committing to products that include organic ingredients, you’re helping to reduce the impact conventional farming has on the planet—pesticides and herbicides are no good for air, water, or soil. And yes, a cleaner planet means fewer environmental stresses on your hair and skin. Think of it as a long-term but well-worth-it commitment.
3. Better products? The word “organic” is never a guarantee that the overall formulation is the best-ever for any product. But it can indicate a more conscientious business committed to crafting high-quality products that may be more effective.
4. Better businesses: Likewise, companies going the extra-step to procure organic ingredients are more likely to be conscientious in other areas of business, making them stalwards of progressive change for their local and international communities.
5. Organic growth: Your purchase of an organic beauty product may seem insignifant, but it actually helps usher in a much bigger, brighter, and cleaner future. Maybe you inspire a friend or family member to buy organic next time, which is great, but by supporting organic purveyors, you help keep them going—and growing their businesses. Can you imagine one day a world where all beauty products are organic?
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It says it there right on the bottle. How could you possibly go wrong? Seems like there is only one possible right way to wash your hair, right? Wrong.
You may be washing your hair less frequently these days—it’s better for your hair and for the planet. But you also want to make the most of those wash sessions so it’s not all in vain. And, believe it or not, you could be wasting your precious ‘poo (not to mention water) if you’re not following a few key steps for perfectly washed hair every time.
How to Wash Hair the Right Way
Start with wet hair: If you pile shampoo onto dry hair thinking you’re saving water, you could be wasting your shampoo and conditioner. Wetting the hair rinses off any dirt and oil that can block the hair cuticle and makes it easier to absorb the moisturizing benefits of your shampoo and conditioner.
Wash your scalp: There’s one rule of thumb for hair care: wash your scalp; condition your hair. Don’t worry about getting the sudsy action all the way down to your ends. Shampooing is really about cleaning and stimulating the scalp for healthy hair growth and to reduce dandruff.
Condition first: This is only really necessary for long hair, and you’ll surely notice quite the difference once you start. Long hair is prone to drying out and breakage, the extra conditioning helps to keep hair healthy and shiny.
Condition generously: This is really what your hair craves more than the cleansing—moisturize-locking conditioning. So pay the most attention to the ends and work your way up to the root. And be sure to get the right type of conditioner for your hair type. Your hairdresser will be able to recommend the best ingredients or keywords to look for on your hair care products.
Don’t rinse and repeat: I know. But the bottle says so! Unless you have exceptionally dirty hair (like, literally, a bucket of dirt was dumped on your head), then you do not need to repeat the washing cycle. As noted above, your hair really wants the moisture from the conditioner, not the cleansing of the shampoo.
Cold water rinse: You might recall that your hairdresser turns the water colder for the rinse cycle. He or she isn’t trying to make you tip them less—it’s actually better for your hair. Just like rinsing with warm water to start opens up your hair cuticle, cold water shuts it off, making it shinier.
Don’t wash daily: It’s true, you really do not need to wash your hair daily—or even weekly in most cases. Yes, hair care companies will tell you different, naturally, but hair can—and should—go days between washing. This lets your natural oils moisturize the scalp and hair, keeps your locks from drying out, and saves you time and cash.
Avoid overdrying: Nobody likes to walk around with soaking wet hair, but putting that hair dryer on full blast does just what it’s supposed to do–dry out your hair. But not in the good way. Too much hair drying (hot irons, too), will damage your hair. Try letting it air-dry, at least every other washing.
Check out Zatik’s hair care products.
Coconut oil is having a moment. Actually, the whole darn nut is—coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut sugar, and coconut flakes are in everything these days. You won’t catch this coconut lover complaining one bit!
And now that we know saturated fats are healthy for us, eating all this coconut in any of its many forms is probably not a bad thing (except maybe overdoing the sugar). But what about using coconut oil in our daily beauty routine? Is it really all it’s cracked up to be (get it?)? Or is it just a passing fad?
Coconut Oil for the Face
The first thing to know and love about coconut oil as a beauty product is that it’s been used in many cultures for centuries. It’s got history on its side, and that’s a good thing. The other important takeaway is that if you’re using coconut oil straight out of the jar, it’s a singular ingredient. That in and of itself means you’ve got much more control over what goes onto your skin. So rashes or sensitivities that can occur from a multi-ingredient beauty product are much easier to pinpoint when you’re down to just one product.
And yes, it is an excellent moisturizer. Coconut oil also has some antimicrobial properties, so it can help fight (mild) skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Dr. Axe says it makes an excellent moisturizer, and says that if you’re prone to acne or have very oily skin, “try adding a few drops to your normal moisturizer instead to amp up hydration without adding too much extra oil.”
It also makes an excellent makeup remover (but so does pretty much any oil). If you’re already using coconut oil in your beauty routine, then using it to remove makeup is a no-brainer. Simply swipe a coconut oil soaked cotton ball over your makeup until it’s gone. Then wash your face as normal.
Coconut Oil for the Body
If it’s good for the face, it’s probably good for the rest of your body, too. Coconut oil on its own makes for a pretty decent moisturizer for dry skin elsewhere on the body. Mix it with some salt or sugar for easy DIY body scrubs.
If you’re still using bar soap to shave your legs, see what happens when you give coconut oil a try instead. It makes for a smoother shave and its moisturizing effects will help to protect against dryness too.
Have you yet to make the switch to a natural deodorant? Give coconut oil a try. You can whip up a DIY deodorant with coconut oil and baking soda to help promote dryness and decrease odor. Bonus: It keeps you free from aluminum-based toxic deodorants, too.
Coconut Oil for the Hair
Because of its antimicrobial effect, coconut oil may be helpful in treating lice (but best to use it in combination with a proven lice treatment).
And speaking of hair, coconut oil can be particularly moisturizing for hair—cultures around the world swear by this treatment for healthier, stronger hair. Rumor has it that it may also help to prevent greys.
Shampooing with coconut oil mixed into your regular ‘poo may also help to alleviate dandruff and dry scalp conditions. Be sure to let it sit on the scalp for a few minutes.
Coconut Oil for the Mouth
Some people swear by oil-pulling, a method of swishing coconut oil in the mouth for about 20 minutes to help brighten teeth, prevent decay, and promote fresh breath. While the science is still out on this, adding a little bit of coconut oil to your toothpaste can’t really hurt, and the antimicrobial benefits may help to enhance the decay-fighting power of toothpastes.